The Chargé in China (Atcheson) to the Secretary of State

No. 1413

Sir: I have the honor to report that a despatch dated July 24, 1943, has been received from the Consulate General at Kunming, in which reference is made to the interest of a group of prominent Chinese political figures in acquiring second-hand machinery from the United States for use in the post-war economic rehabilitation of China.

The group, which is said to include Dr. H. H. Kung, is reported to be operating through a company styled the China Industrial Corporation, of which a Mr. C. C. Chang is the director. The members of the group, it is said, prefer to remain anonymous for the present, as they have not decided whether the venture should be for the account of the government or for their private account. The Chinese Industrial Corporation is reported to have at least US$100,000 at its disposal for the immediate purchase of used machinery in the United States, delivery presumably to be made as soon as possible after the war. The purpose in making purchases at this time would appear to be to forestall competition from other countries that are expected to be in the market for industrial machinery after the war.

The Embassy was recently approached by Mr. Shen Li-ren, an accountant from Shanghai, who claimed to be representing a group of wealthy Chinese in Shanghai interested in the promotion of a scheme for the post-war industrialization of China, under which American companies would supply used machinery and Chinese capitalists would supply capital, in exchange for shares in manufacturing companies to be formed in China. The scheme was grandiose and impractical, but illustrates another aspect of the interest in China in obtaining American machinery after the war.

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Further evidence of Chinese interest in American machinery is afforded by a number of inquiries received from manufacturers or promoters who desire to place orders for new or used American machinery at this time, for delivery as soon as possible after the war. Some of these inquirers indicate that they would be prepared to deposit cash with their orders, in order to be assured of priority in post-war delivery.

Respectfully yours,

For the Chargé d’Affaires a. i.:
J. Bartlett Richards

Commercial Attaché